Today we are catching up with Cayla-Lee De Villiers of Western Australia, one of the 27 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2022.
So Cayla, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I am 25 years old, a proud Australian, South-African born and currently living in Perth, Western Australia.
I am fluent in both English and Afrikaans and still speak this at home with my family. I am proud of my roots, and I love Australia like it is my birth country and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I graduated from University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Project Management. I work full-time as a Technology Project Coordinator for one of Australia’s top mining companies. I just recently celebrated my five years of service! I have really enjoyed working on Technology and Innovation projects over the years; I believe it is an industry that is important to a sustainable future and helps make people’s lives easier.
In my spare time, you will find me at the gym, the beach or hanging out with my family and friends.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
They say that life doesn’t start until you step outside of your comfort zone, and I completely align with that. My key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia was to push myself beyond my comfort zone, face my fears and step into a new version of myself. I really hope to inspire and empower other young women to do the same. It’s amazing what you can achieve if you believe in yourself, put yourself out there and do the work.
As part of the program, you recently spent time in our hometown of the Gold Coast with the Village Roadshow team; what was the experience like?
It was absolutely incredible; I adore visiting the theme parks here, it is always so much fun, and the Gold Coast weather is exceptional.
I particularly enjoyed learning about the animal welfare and conservation work at Seaworld; it is so good to see large companies actively trying to make a difference. The day we spent at Movie World was so fun too. I’m definitely a thrill seeker and went on all the rides I possibly could. I felt like a big kid.
Shout out to the amazing Village Roadshow Team!
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
The highlight for me was meeting and getting to know the finalists from the other states. I love meeting new people and creating meaningful connections.
I have met so many beautiful people in this experience, some of which are now lifelong friends.
I also enjoyed the walking workshops throughout the week with our incredible runway mentor and Miss Universe Nicaragua 2008, Thelma Rodriguez. It was like a little glimpse of being on the National Final stage.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
I believe our own uniqueness and individuality are exactly what makes this program so interesting and special. No matter who is crowned, I know Australia will be well-represented.
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to me. I may look like your typical blonde Aussie girl. However, I believe I have a unique perspective to offer.
I feel I can truly empathise with young women of all backgrounds and cultures because I understand them through my own experiences, having grown up abroad in a second-world country. With this, I hope to bring people together as a leader of diversity, connection and empowerment.
My zeal to always go beyond my comfort zone, no matter the difficulty or fear I have for the next challenge, I want to do it – I can’t say no. I want to make the most of each opportunity and give it all I have. I refuse to go home, knowing I didn’t give it my very best.
Your next question comes from our current Miss Universe Australia, Daria Varlamova; in your opinion, what are the most essential qualities that a Miss Universe Australia embodies?
In my opinion, the role of Miss Universe Australia is about leadership and legacy. It means to leave your mark on the world and make a contribution to future generations. I believe the most important qualities that a Miss Universe Australia embodies are to be optimistic, fair-minded, honest, driven and confident.
She should be able to empower, inspire, educate and lead by example while being relatable and down to earth.
Now travel is back on the cards; where is your favourite place to travel to?
Given my French and Dutch heritage, I would love to travel to Europe; next, it’s so rich in culture, and there seems to be something new around every corner.
My favourite place I have travelled to so far would be New York City; it really is just like in the movies!
What is something people may find interesting about you?
On holiday on the east coast of Africa, I caught a Southern Bluefin tuna on a deep-sea fishing trip. I caught the biggest catch of the day!
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
Being a woman working in Mining and Technology, I have found myself interested in the Technology Industry. I am passionate about working with technology, collaborating with different teams, and making a difference in people’s lives. I believe technology is essential to our future, and as we have seen with COVID-19, it has made major contributions in areas such as science, healthcare, education and communication.
I am also part of a Women in Tech and Mining support group where we come together to support, connect and advocate for a respectable and safe work environment for women in our workplace.